Plot: Will (The Rock) survived a horrific, violent encounter and out of that tragic turn of events, he met his wife Sarah (Neve Campbell) and began a new life. Although years have passed, he still struggles with the lingering memories and physical issues that resulted, but he has managed to move forward. Will has been contracted to run security and safety checks on a massive, world class skyscraper in Hong Kong, a huge opportunity for his business. His friend and former colleague Ben (Pablo Schreiber) helped line up this work assignment, but Ben has earned it with his skill and experience, so his assessment will be respected by insurance officials. But before he gets the chance to turn in his work, he discovers he is being set up by a band of mercenaries, who plan to take control of the skyscraper and retrieve a valuable asset. When the building is seized and his family is trapped inside, can Will find a way to not only make it back inside the skyscraper, but rescue his loved ones?
Entertainment Value: Skyscraper was marketed like a Die Hard knock off, but it isn’t and in truth, I wish it would have been. Instead we have a generic action movie that has some nice set pieces, but fails to engage beyond some neat visuals and laughable b movie elements. I mean, we know action movies aren’t the most realistic genre, but Skyscraper demands a level of suspension of disbelief that will test even the most forgiving popcorn movie fan. I think the lapses in logic are the best part of the movie, especially since the film is so sincere and serious. When The Rock plans to scale a skyscraper using duct tape on his hands and feet, you assume this will lead to comic failure and a new plan, but the movie runs with it. The movie rolls out a wealth of ridiculous, but seriously handled situations like that one, which are kind of fun, but feel more just plain bad than so bad, it turns into madness. The action scenes are over the top, but the visual design is solid and the perspective shots are effective, so they use the vertical nature of the skyscraper in fun ways. In the end, the movie delivers a passable, forgettable action experience that refuses to embrace the manic madness, instead trying to be a serious, dramatic action movie.
This one is built around The Rock, who turns in his usual performance and in this case, that isn’t good news. As I mentioned before, Skyscraper is presented as a serious action movie, despite the ludicrous elements involved, so The Rock is asked to be dramatic and that doesn’t work. I appreciate his comedic work or if he just needs to smash things, but even in thin material like this, he flounders in dramatic moments. I think the movie would have been much better if the writers worked around his limitations and put in some humor, where he could have shined. This isn’t his worst role, but the movie suffers with him as the lead and someone similar, but with a little more range, like Dave Bautista, could have enhanced this one. Neve Campbell has the strongest performance and has the one role the writers seem to have put some effort into, as she is not just a damsel in distress, to say the least. But even so, she is relegated to a minor role until she is trotted out to do some cool stuff. I would have loved if she was the actual lead, which would have opened up some interesting elements and Campbell’s grit here could have carried the part. No one else is given even a little to work with, Pablo Schreiber, Noah Tyler, and Byron Mann in wasted roles.